Here, the cherry blossom trees have peaked – full bloom is over and they are shedding their flowers, making for a flowery sweet and heady scent when stepped on. It kind of reminds me of spring, which of course it is. I know. It’s just oh so cold and gloomy some days. I am pardoned for this bickering, however; living in Denmark you have to complain no matter the weather. It’s a national pastime.
While I wait for the real spring (equivalent to 1 week of no weather-whining) to arrive I’m dreaming of swinging in a hammock, drinking G+T, reading ‘Peyton Place’. Which reminds me of Twin Peaks, which reminds me of the return of one of the most defining cultural impacts to me. So while we aaaaall wait for both spring and the return of Twin Peaks, I will urge you to make something sweet and grown up to feel in control. Of course, back looping back to the cherry blossom trees and ending in a David Lynchian universe, I should make a Cherry Pie. However depending on the weather, I have to wait a few months still. Damn you nordic atmosphere. So G+T it is. No complaining about that though.
This cheesecake is inspired by Gin and Tonic, with the flavor profiles to match: Ginger, Fennel, Lime, Juniper and the gin in its pure state. I have added blackberries which have a slight bitter and citrus-y taste which goes hand in hand with Gin and Tonic. Try adding frozen blackberries to your next G+T. Just saying.
Also if you do not secretly want to eat the ginger-fennel crust as a giant cookie, I don’t know what to believe anymore
GIN & TONIC CHEESECAKE
Makes 1 25cm/10inch cheesecake
FOR THE CRUST
250g ginger biscuits
125g butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
FOR THE CHEESE FILLING
½ tbsp whole juniper
250ml heavy cream
500g cream cheese
125g powdered sugar
Lime zest from 2 limes
4 sheets of gelatine (1,7-2g pr sheet)
FOR THE GIN GELÉE
8 sheets of gelatin (1,7-2g pr. sheet)
200g caster sugar
Juice of 2 limes
100ml good quality gin
150g blackberries, sliced
FOR THE CRUST: Heat the oven to 175oC/350 Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a 25cm/10inch cake tin with parchment paper. Finely crush or blend the biscuits. Mix in melted butter and ground fennel. Press the crust into the cake tin, making sure it is even. Bake in the oven for 12 min or until golden. Let cool completely.
FOR THE CHEESE FILLING: With the back of a knife or in a mortar, crush open the juniper berries. In a small pot over low-medium heat combine the heavy cream and juniper berries. Stir often. When the cream comes to a near boil remove from heat and let the mixture cool and the juniper berries infuse for 30-40 minutes. The cream will likely clump, that is fine. Strain and press out as much liquid from the juniper berries, as possible.
In a small bowl, completely cover the gelatin sheets with water. Let bloom for 10 minutes.
In the same small pot as before, combine the bloomed gelatin sheets (no need to squeeze out all the water) and the cream over low heat, until the gelatine is dissolved completely. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lime zest. While still whisking, slowly, and in a thin stream, pour the slightly cooled cream-gelatine mixture into the cream cheese. When all is incorporated, pour the cheese filling into the cooled crust. Even it out if necessary. Cover with cling film and let the cheese cake set until firm in the refrigerator. A couple of hours.
FOR THE GIN GELÉE and FINAL ASSEMBLY : In a medium bowl, completely cover the gelatin sheets with water. Let bloom for 15 minutes. In a small pot over medium heat combine the water, sugar and lime. When the sugar has dissolved pour in the gin and remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the bloomed gelatin sheets until completely dissolved. Cool the gelée keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t set.
Arrange the sliced blackberries on the set cheesecake.
When the gelée has cooled and thickened, but is still pourable, pour carefully and slowly over the cheesecake. The blackberries will float, but will stay in the same pattern when taking care.
Cover with cling film and let the cake set until firm in the refrigerator.
Serve and enjoy.
Notes: • Here I have made an almost 1:1 ratio of cream cheese filling to gelée. For a less boozy version, simply half the gelée recipe. It will still be great. • I’m using grams because nothing else really makes sense when baking. Soooorrry 🙂